Green Industry Resources
Hort Update- Seasonal Information for the Green Industry
Show Questions - May 3, 2012
1. [The picture sent in was too blurry to use, so Kim described it.] It was a little thing in the garage, not much bigger than a pinhead. It had long, front legs with pinchers on them.
a. That's a pseudo- or false scorpion. They are tiny little arthropods. They normally live under the bark of trees, in leafy debris, or soil litter. They feed on small insects or other arthropods. They favor moist conditions, but sometimes will come out and get in the house. You will see them on the wall. And they are completely harmless. They have those pinchers that they use to grab prey and then chew it. They have no stinger. They are called pseudo- or false scorpion.
2. A problem possible from a pre-emergent application. They used a product called Sedge Ender, with sulfentrazone and prodiomine in it. They applied it with a garden hose sprayer. A few days later they noticed a patch that looked like it was dead. Wondered if that is a problem with the product, with the timing, or what.
a. Not a problem with the timing. It is a problem with the application. The hose sprayers are real convenient, but not very accurate. The sulfentrazone is a good pre-emergent for yellow nutsedge. But it will turn blue grass yellow, some people call it lighting it up. It will turn it yellow. Sometimes it will recover well, unless it's a four to five times the recommended dosage. Right product, right timing, but probably the wrong application devise. It might be better to put on granular form. The hose applicator is effected by water pressure. If somebody in the house flushes the toilet, there will be an effect an the water delivery. I'm not a fan of hose sprayers.
3. This viewer has powdery mildew in part shade on one and a half acres of turf and there was a question about whether it was winter mold and a bleach mixture was used on this initially. What treatment can be used, if anything.
a. This probably refers to snow mold, and we saw very little snow mold this year. If there was injury early on it may have been winter desiccation injury or something like that. This year in particular. Right now if they are seeing powered mildew, the best thing is to provide some break in the shade to get sunlight on the grass. Instead of battling it the other thing you could look at is switching to shade flowers or shade-tolerant ground cover. Or spread mulch rather than trying to grow grass in the shade. Recommend against using fungicide.
4. When planting vegetables in containers, should they be fertilized and, if they need to fertilize, should they use liquid or dry?
a. Vegetables work out well in containers especially those that are designed for containers. It is up to you, you can do liquid or granular fertilizer. If you are going to do a granular get a slow release. Be careful if you are using water base one, don't apply it all at once. You can have a flush of new growth but you won't get flower or fruit in the long run. Once they start to flower go ahead and fertilize.
5. A dwarf Alberta Spruce by the front door: Looked great until a week ago. Needles on just the west side are turning grayish green, drying up, falling off. Any idea what is happening?
a. “By the front door” suggests to me it might be too close to the house and perhaps the soil may be lacking as far as moisture level. Spider mites might be a possibility; they like cool dry weather. Hold a white piece of paper under a branch and tap it. See if you can see greenish bodies of spider mites moving on the paper. If there are mites present and moving, treat it with a suggested product like befenthrin--to the point of wetness. There may be some slow recovery, you may have the wait.
6. A viewer in Omaha has a bluegrass lawn on heavy clay soil. They know they can amend with a top dressing of compost; they heard about a product called Aerify Plus that claims to be a liquid aerator. Does it work?
a. No, it does not work. Soil compaction is a physical problem, the only way is to cultivate in some way or add organic matter. It has to work its way to decompose. We tested several of these products and they don’t work in Nebraska soils.
7. The picture shows a tomato plant with wilting and dying leaves. It has happened every year for the last 4 or 5 years. It may be attacking other vine plants as well.
a. This is tomato blight. If you raise tomatoes in the same area year after year, this is a common occurrence. If possible, tomatoes should be moved to different areas over the years. Blight management can be improved by cleaning out debris carefully. If you look at those pictures, those dead leaves will have inoculum for future years. The second thing: spread mulch at the base to keep inoculum in the soil from splashing up onto the leaves. Keep the canopies away from each other. If you haven't purchased your plants already, look at some with the resistance to leaf disease. Use soaker hoses for watering, not sprinklers. The best time to water is in the morning.
8. A Dorchester viewer had a lot of hail. Every stalk on the rhubarb was damaged. What can be done?
a. If there's anything still upright, try to leave it there until it the plant re-sprouts or until the damaged part starts to rot. You want it to have as much help to rejuvenate as possible. Once it starts to sprout you can remove the damaged parts. When the damaged areas start to rot, get them out of there so they won't effect the new stalks.
9. When should Grub-Ex by applied in Lincoln for grub control?
a. With the early spring in 2012, we're seeing the insects emerging 2 to 6 weeks ahead of schedule. If you have white grubs, you can expect them in late May, early June, or even a little bit before that. If this is a product that is applied as preventative, apply it early. By mid May, or a bit earlier.
10. A Hastings viewer that has a grass of some sort seeding out. They mow at three and half inches.
a. Probably bluegrass. If their lawn is older than the early 80s a lot of those grasses have short seed heads. It will not reseed the lawn. It could be annual bluegrass, but can’t tell without a sample or very good picture.
11. A Ralston viewer has ponderosa pines. They are sixty feet tall. They have been limbing up and are to about 20 feet. Needles are turning brown on old growth; it is still producing new candles and cones. Any idea of the cause. It has been happening for the last four years.
a. If they are pruning up like that and it is moving up the tree, it could be needle blight. You can go online and type in dothistroma needle blight. See if it matches that. Damage is like to be mostly on one side or lower portions; it will be where the canopy is wet. You can spray a fungicide, but if you are pruning up, the flow of air my slow the blight. I'd check that.
12. A viewer in Ashland planted tomatoes that were planted in 5 gallon buckets with drain holes and rock in the bottom. The leaves are curling under and are leathery and thick. Planted in March.
a. If it got cold enough it could cause injury to the leaves. If you set them on the hot concrete pad you could have curling under. My guess would be potential cold. (Probably need to replant.)
13. Viewer has miller moths, big ones and little ones. When will they lay their eggs, and then what happens?
a. The miller moths that we have been seeing the last couple weeks are hiding out in dense shrubs or around the house, those are army moths they are on the way to vacation in the Rockies. They are not laying eggs, there won't be cut worms now. They come back in the autumn and locate different crops and plants and lay their eggs. There's a number of other cutworm moths that are flying in. I've seen celery loopers and forage loopers, we're getting a lot of differents ones. And there are various sizes. We're due for corn ear worms. They come from the north and move northerly direction. Check around the base of your plant for worms. See if there are cut worms hiding and remove them.
14. A viewer has a wire fence between his house and the neighbors whose tall ornamental grasses keep coming under the fence and he keeps cutting them. How can he can kill them without killing bluegrass?
a. Nothing labeled for this use. You could paint Roundup on them, but it might spread to the neighbor's stand. Talk to your neighbor and see if they can cut the grasses back from the fence.
15. A viewer has a fine fescue, really thick, uses a lot of water, looks great in the spring but gets fungus later on in the season.
a. It's hard to tell if it’s later in if season. If it is August or late July, brown patch is common. I'm going to go with that. When the time comes, when you are starting to see it, take a sample in to the local University of Nebraska Extension office. Back off on the watering; that will help a lot.
16. Hydrangeas, three years old on the east side of their house in sandy soil. They wilt when it's hot. What can be done?
a. At this point in time, baby them along. That sandy soil isn't holding enough moisture. Earlier, you probably wanted to amend the soil and add compost. You can try doing some amending around them. At some point in time they will probably not make it; then amend the soil prior to replanting.
17. A viewer was told they had iris borers. They poured bleach over them and treated it with Fertilome. It killed the iris. Can they plant something else in this spot?
a. If it is sunny location, there's a number of different choices that can be planted. I planted a wildflower selection in an old iris bed and I love it. The issue is the bleach and the soil and whether they get anything to grow. If it's Clorox, they broke the law. It is use not meant for this usage. It can cause toxic levels in the soil. A lot of reasons not to use it. Add organic material to the soil and till it in well, throw some seeds in it and see if they will grow. If not, add more organic material until seeds will grow. Clorox is good for pathology on tools, but not in the soil.
18. A viewer has a blend of three types of fescue, and wonder why it's striped. Three feet of green then a stripe of brown. What could this be?
a. Nature is not linear. It is something mechanical. It could be number of things. Possibly improper application of fertilizer. Probably not something that's in nature.
19. Viewer has 40 daylilies. Twenty miles north of Valparaiso. A few didn't come up. But in some that did, the crowns were rotted once they did come up. There has been no change in landscape. They are old established plants.
a. We see some fusarium root and crown rots in daylilies. The dry winter that we had contributes to this. If they didn't water through the winter, that may be the reason. You could use a fungicide drench to try to manage it. You may want to get new plants to rejuvenate the bed.
20. Ten year old pear tree, twenty feet, no pears. What is the problem?
a. Some pear trees need another pear tree to polinate. If there's not a pear tree close by, they may need to get a second tree.
21. Four year old patch of asparagus. Distorted spears, looks like small holes. They've seen mite-like bugs. What could be causing this?
a. The bug holes could be asparagus beetles' points of feeding, but that’s not the problem. And the small mites are secondary, feeding on the fungi that is causing the problem. If you dig down, you'll probably find the crown of the plant severely affected. That's what we're dealing with. Maybe too wet.
22. A shrub that will do well in full sun with lots of water?
a. For the Lincoln area, buttonbush. Really fun little white puff balls blooms. Or Itea; you won't have as much twig die back.
23. A white butterfly in the grass. Nickel size. Is that a good guy?
a. Probably not. Probably a webworm type of moth.
1. How do they move the daffodils now?
a. Very carefully. Dig them up and plant them at the depth they are at now. Stake them.
2. Can you use a growth hormone to thin fruit? If so, how do you figure it out?
a. Yes, but most of the time you can thin it out by hand. Some of the products for insecticides will help with that too.
3. Is Dames's rocket a noxious weed?
a. No it is not, and it is pretty.
4. What about purple loostrife?
a. Yes. It needs to be removed.
5. Cottonwood roots near a sidewalk. Should they worry about the roots?
a. The roots will find weak areas, if it is planted too close. Yes, they will notice the roots, but the same is true of any tree.
1. A viewer has cucumbers that climb and then wilt. Do not rotate crops. What causes this?
a. Probably bacterial wilt. Make sure you are using careful sanitation and try to control the cucumber beetles that will vector the bacteria.
2. Is the anthracnose that causes trouble in sycamores triggered by wet or dry weather?
a. Wet spring.
3. Anything that can be done about anthracnose In big trees?
a. You can use a fungicide, but it's difficult to treat large trees. I hate to recommend treatment. It is probably not going to kill the tree.
4. Will injecting pin oaks for treatment of chlorosis cause secondary pathogens in those wounds or is that not a problem?
a. Usually the advantage of the injection for pin oaks is better than stressing them without the treatment.
5. Are there any diseases in hackberries and elms that cause a staggered break of the foliage and smaller leaves?
a. There's a hackberry mosaic virus that causes that break pattern.
1. Is there anything to do to kill the weeds in wildflower patch without killing the flowers?
2. How about killing weed seeds in soil if they decide to start over?
a. Solarization is the organic way to do it. You put a clear container, trench it in around the edges and let the hot days of the summer take care of it. It takes about 45 days. It takes out some pathogens and takes out weeds.
3. What's the best time to seed a lawn?
a. In the fall for the cool season grasses. For buffalograss and some warm season grasses about late April, early May.
4. What is an onion-like thing in the woods that smells like garlic.
a. Probably wild garlic or wild onion. If you want to get rid of it in a lawn, look for a product that has triclopyr.
1. A viewer in Elwood has borer holes in a 30 year old weeping European birch. Is there hope?
a. If it is growing well above the ground, I would treat. Use an insecticide such as bifenthrin or a long-lasting insecticide starting now up to July; that would probably cover the tree for this year.
2. Is there any mosquito control that can be used now with all of the wet weather without spraying the entire property?
a. You have to do fogging or misting. Treat local pools of water with a BT dunk, that will help kill the larva.
3. When will the tussock (gypsy) moths arrive?
a. We don't have tussock moths (gypsy moths) in Nebraska. The Department of Agriculture surveys for them every year and has not found them in Nebraska. White-marked tussock moths occasionally show up in apples.